What works better in fundraising: hope or fear?

Do donors give out of hope or fear?

Most of them: both.

But fear — giving to keep something bad from happening — is a stronger motivation than hope — giving to make something good happen.

Read this post at Clairification: Fundraising Appeal Psychology: Show People How to Avoid Loss. It navigates the complex interplay of fear and hope in donors’ minds.

The main thing to remember is that for most donors, most of the time, fear of loss is a stronger motivation than hope of improvement.

That’s why sad and painful images work so well in fundraising. Why desperate situations and financial shortfalls do well. Why massive disasters activate so many people who normally don’t donate at all.

Don’t let your own wishes to be upbeat turn you away from this important reality.

Want me to work directly with you on making your fundraising the best it can be? Click here for detail and how to book here.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.